Linda, My cherry trees always blossom and produce small fruit every spring, but the fruit dries up and falls off the tree. Do you know why this might happen? Thank you. Amanda in Mystic
Dear Amanda, There are actually several possible reasons why cherry trees drop their fruit too early:
1) The flowers are not being cross pollinated properly - Some varieties of cherry need a nearby pollinating source, whereas others are self-pollinating. A tree may make small fruits without a pollinator, but the fruits will fall off before they mature because the blossoms were not pollinated properly. If you know the variety of tree that you have, you can choose and plant a different variety and that may do the trick. If you don't know the variety, go by the blossom color - if you have white blossoms, plant another tree that has pink or vice versa. The second tree provides viable pollen that honeybees or other insects can bring to the flowers on your tree, pollinating them so fruit can form.
2) Not enough (or too much) water - Cherry trees require water regularly, thoroughly and deeply during their fruiting period. Infrequent, shallow watering can deprive the fruit of much needed water, causing the fruit to dry up and drop. On the other hand, make sure your cherry tree isn't sitting in boggy, overly wet soil. Too much water is just as bad as not enough water. When the soil is saturated, the trees roots cannot breathe depriving the tree of much needed oxygen.
3) Not enough fertilization - Cherry trees benefit from regular fertilization throughout the year. An abundance of energy is needed to form flowers and fruit on a tree, therefore fertilizing provides the required nutrients necessary for proper growth.
4) Poor weather conditions during the flowering stage- a late frost can damage the flowers during the blooming period causing a diminished amount of fruit to form. Once the cherries have started forming, a late frost can also cause them to drop. Low temperatures (or extremely high temperatures), dry winds or cloudy days during the flowering stage and early stages of fruit development can also contribute to early fruit drop. Since your fruit drop is occurring every year, my sense is that your tree needs a second tree as a cross pollinating source. Good Luck.
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About Linda Lillie
Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier
landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry
service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of
Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national
award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.